GMT P500 for January 2010
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Happy new year!

Welcome to the January 2010 edition of the GMT P500 update list.

Subscribe today: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/419612

Changes: Last month's new format was a hit and nobody who didn't like it (less than 10 people out of over 250 voters) got in touch to say what they didn't like, so it's how this list will proceed from now on.

Your help still required! I have the announcement dates for most of the games on the list, but not all of them. Still looking for data to complete the list.

December preorders were solid.

New this month: No new titles. After seven new titles in November, that's probably a good thing.

Making the cut:
Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?

(Tentative) Production Outlook:

January 2010
Serpents of the Seas
Combat Commander: Battle Pack #3 – Normandy

February 2010
Chariots of Fire
Washington's War

March 2010
Leaping Lemmings - GMT has indicated that they have a financial benefactor to get this to print.
Stalin's War

April 2010
Normandy '44
Nothing Gained But Glory

May 2010
Barbarossa: Crimea

June 2010
Won by the Sword

Summer 2010
Whichever game leads the P500 race between Urban Sprawl and Dominant Species.

Check out the latest preorder lists:
GMT's reprints GMT P500 Reprint List January 2010
Columbia Games Columbia Games P500 for January 2010
MMP ASL P500 MMP ASL P500 January 2010
MMP P500 MMP P500 for January 2010 - featuring an interview with Nathan Kilgore
Legion Wargames TBA
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1. Board Game: Urban Sprawl [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1264]
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Current Preorders: 198 (+32)

First announced: November 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $49 ($70)

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-296-urban-sprawl.aspx

Comments: One of two "Euro-style" games that GMT is publishing. Either this or Dominant Species will be published next summer; which ever one is leading in the P500 poll.

Of the two, my preference leans towards Dominant Species.

Game Information: Urban Sprawl is a game for 2-4 players. Urban Sprawl abstractly models the growth of a town into a teeming metropolis.

Players assume the roles of entrepreneur, tycoon and politician—each helping in the development of a hypothetical “Anywhere, USA.” Wealth and Prestige will be earned and spent throughout the game. Buildings will rise only to later be demolished for better and larger fare.

Throughout the game, players will gather valuable Permits. These will result in either a wealthy Investment or the foundation of a new building Contract. Players will strive to become dominant in one or more building Zones in order to acquire beneficial political offices.

All of this eventually leads to the end game – a vibrant metropolis that is revered around the world – when the player with the most Prestige will be crowned the winner.

Game Play:

The grid of streets on the board provides the framework for building the small town. The buildings will be placed within the grid and identified with control markers (wooden cubes) to show each player’s contribution to the growing urban area. Each building’s value is determined by the cumulative Wealth and Prestige values of the block in which is it constructed.

At the start of a player’s turn he may discard one or more Building Permit cards from hand as “Investments,” gaining Wealth in doing so. Next that player gets 6 “Action Points” (APs) that he may spend on any of the the following activities:

* Acquiring new Building Permit cards from those available to choose;
* Constructing new buildings from those currently available;
* Acquiring a “Favor” – a Building Contract that only that player can build.

Each activity carries with it a variable cost in APs, depending on where the chosen card lies on the board.

Once a player has spent his APs it’s time for a quick reset phase in readiness for the next player’s turn. It is during this phase that events can occur, elections can be held for the various political offices, and players receive payouts in Wealth and Prestige. Wealth payouts provide funding for new buildings while Prestige payouts provide victory points.

Generally, players will be trying to build in areas that provide better payouts. Players are also looking to construct more buildings of a particular “zone” – Government, Residential, Industrial or Commercial – in order to help them win an election, as the politicians each confer a special ability to the player holding the office. Many of the buildings also provide a one-time bonus as they are built, and players can benefit from construction in the right neighborhoods.

Throughout the game, the values of the buildings will generally increase as the town grows into a city and then a large metropolis. Neighborhoods that were once valuable can become run down and new city centers spring up as the urban areas sprawl out across the grid.

When the game ends, players will conduct a final scoring of each Prestige row, earn points based on accumulated Wealth, and score bonus points for political offices held—after which the player with the highest Prestige total wins the game.

Game Design by Chad Jensen

Game Development by Kai Jensen

Players: 2-4

Play Time: about 45 minutes per player

Components:

one game board

four player mats

144 wooden cubes in four player colors

four wooden cylinders in four player colors

one orange wooden pawn

165 cards:

* 54 in the Building Permit deck
* 37 in the Town deck
* 37 in the City deck
* 37 in the Metropolis deck

four sheets of die-cut tiles:

* 128 buildings
* 24 Vocations
* 6 Politicians
* 1 Contractor
* 6 Wealth markers
* 3 Prestige markers
* 1 Active Player marker
* 1 Extra Favor marker
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2. Board Game: Dominant Species [Average Rating:7.84 Overall Rank:53]
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Current Preorders: 215 (+34)

First announced: November 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $55 ($79)

Comments: One of two "Euro-style" games that GMT is publishing. Either this or Urban Sprawl will be published next summer; which ever one is leading in the P500 poll.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-295-dominant-species.aspx

Game Information: 90,000 B.C. — A great Ice Age is fast approaching. Another titanic struggle for global supremacy has unwittingly commenced between the varying animal species.

Dominant Species is a game for 2 to 6 players that abstractly recreates a tiny portion of ancient history: the ponderous encroachment of an Ice Age and what that entails for the living creatures trying to adapt to the slowly-changing Earth.

Each player will assume the role of one of six major Animal groups—Mammal, Reptile, Bird, Amphibian, Arachnid or Insect. Each begins the game in a state of natural balance with regards to one another. But that won’t last: It is indeed “survival of the fittest.”

Through wily Action Pawn placement, players will strive to become Dominant on as many different Terrain tiles as possible in order to draw beneficial Dominance Cards. Players will also want to propagate their individual Species in order to earn Victory Points for his particular Animal. Players will be aided in these endeavors via Growth, Migration and Domination actions, among others.

All of this eventually leads to the end game – the final ascent of the Ice Age – where the player with the most Victory Points will have his Animal crowned the Dominant Species.

But somebody better become dominant quickly, because it’s getting mighty cold….

Game Play:

Throughout a game of Dominant Species large hexagonal tiles are placed on the board to create an ever-expanding interpretation of Earth as it might have appeared a thousand centuries ago. These tiles represent the various terrain such as desert, mountain, forest and sea. The smaller Tundra tiles will be placed atop these larger tiles – converting them into Tundra in the process – as the Ice Age encroaches.

The cylindrical Action Pawns (or “AP”s) drive the game. Each AP will allow a player to perform the various actions that can be taken—actions such as growth, environmental change, migration, competition or glaciation. During each turn’s opening Planning Phase players will take turns placing their Available APs onto the Action Display, indicating a specific action that player wishes to perform that turn. During the following Execution Phase these APs will be removed in a prescribed order and their indicated action executed.

Generally, players will be trying to enhance their own Animals’ survivability while simultaneously trying to hinder that of their opponents’—hopefully collecting valuable victory points along the way. The various cards will aid in these efforts, giving players useful one-time abilities or an opportunity for recurring victory point gains.

Throughout the game Species – represented by colored wooden cubes – will be added to, moved about in, and removed from the terrain tiles in play (the “Earth”). Element markers will be added to and removed from both Animals (“need”) and Earth (“supply”).

When the “Ice Age” card triggers the end of the game, players will conduct a final scoring of each tile—after which the player controlling the Animal with the highest VP total wins the game.

Game Design by Chad Jensen

Game Development by Kai Jensen

Players: 2-6

Play Time: 2-4 hours

Components:

* a 16-page full-color rulebook
* one 22” x 34” mounted game board
* six Animal Displays
* 27 cards
* 35 large and 14 small hexagonal tiles used to create “Earth”
* 270 wooden cubes in six colors representing the Species belonging to the six Animal groups
* 60 wooden cylinders used for the Animals’ Action Pawns
* 60 wooden cones used as the Animals’ Domination markers
* 108 round markers representing the Earth’s resources, called “Elements”
* 12 square markers used to show each Animal’s “Initiative” (turn order)
* one cloth bag
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3. Board Game: Iron and Oak [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4998]
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Current Preorders: 280 (+50)

First announced: November 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $42 ($59)

Comments: Given that naval games tend to be hit or miss with me and the ACW isn't a period of interest for me, I doubt it'll be on my preorder list.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-293-iron-and-oak.aspx

Game Information: Ship-to-Ship Combat during the American Civil War

By James M. Day

A black plume of smoke from coal-fired boilers and the Yankee ensign hoisted aloft are squarely in your sights. Standing with your officers on the casement roof, you are tracking the progress of the monitor as she steams toward your ship leaving little doubt that there will be a mighty fight to control the river. Your ship is all that stands before a Union passage.

Your browser may not support display of this image.Climbing down to the gun deck you order your ironclad cleared for action, then take your position in the pilothouse. Armored port shutters are triced up. Your gun crews strain to ram home the 7 inch rifle bolts you hope will pierce the monitor’s turret, or at least jam it in place. You have seen the bolts slam into those turrets and bounce away many times before. You know the Yankee gunners have brought up the huge solid shot with the winches from the magazines for the monitor’s two Dahlgren smoothbores. Most of your men have never been on a ship before they volunteered for your command, but they know how to lay guns on target.

There are shouted commands all around. The gun crews quickly pull together to run out the Brooke Rifles. Gun captains hold the lanyards ready, preparing to hook to the percussion locks as the enemy moves into range. Now there is only the sound of the droning engines and the feel of the roll and pitch as the helmsman tries to correct the wallowing. Your ironclad steams on. You cannot hope to match the agility and speed of the monitor, but you know the strength of your ironclad’s armor. You have faith in iron & oak.

Game Description

Iron & Oak is game of ship-to-ship combat set during the American Civil War. As a tactical representation of naval warfare, each of the ships is accurately modeled for offensive capability including gunnery, ramming and spar torpedoes; for defensive capability including damage and five distinct armored or wooden hit locations; and for maneuverability, crew size and draft.

You command 70 famous ships of the era, including the Union: Onondaga, Tecumseh, Winnebago, Monitor, Osage, Minnesota, Brooklyn, Hartford, Essex, Carondolet, Kearsarge, Ossipee, Queen of the West, Iroquois, Spuyten Duyvil; and the Confederate: Tennessee, Virginia, Atlanta, Palmetto State, Arkansas, Albemarle, Alabama, Florida, General Beauregard, Sumter; and many more.

Your browser may not support display of this image.Many of the 14 scenarios, in this easy to learn game, are playable in an hour or less. Included are 13 historical and 1 hypothetical engagements featuring Hampton Roads, Mobile Bay, Trent’s Reach, Wassaw Sound, the duel between Alabama and the Kearsarge, and the saga of the Arkansas, which may be played as three individual scenarios or as a linked mini-campaign.

In addition, forts bristling with guns make their appearance to challenge the will of the ship captains. If that was not enough to heat things up, scenario based optional rules add a few interesting ‘what if’ situations to expand on play.

If you are interested in commanding your own fleet, Iron & Oakincludes a standalone campaign module where player selected forces fight it out in the many rivers, bays, inlets and costal areas. The campaign game recreates the brown water actions, typical of the period, in a series of randomly generated battles. As play progresses, the players do not know the exact length of the campaign or the specific mix of the battles. Players must not only manage the unfolding battles, but must also strategically allocate resources and repair and refits their ships. The 16 card Navy Yard deck is used to plot a course through and influence the challenges of the campaigns.

Two or more players battle it out on an 11’ x 17” map that features an area movement grid. This simple approach controls ship movement as well as all combat action. Gone are the long periods of inaction, typical of ACW tactical naval games, as these early steam-era ships struggled to maneuver into battle.

Your browser may not support display of this image.This innovative game system places the emphasis on quick action and tactical decision making. The 94 Action Cards are used to assist and enhance play, not drive it. Each time you battle it out, whether in a scenario or campaign game, the action unfolds in a very different manner. Do you wish to employ hot shot or incendiary shells? Is now the best time to rapid fire or is it wise to maneuver and ram? Should you allocate part of the crew as a repair party? Is that enemy ship going to maneuver into your torpedo (mine) field? These and many other possibilities exist through the play of the action cards. Or, you may decide to not play any action cards at all and just maneuver and shoot. You control how and when the action will unfold.

At its core Iron & Oak is a naval simulation. It accurately models the close-range slugging matches typical of the period. You have the opportunity to play out the various battles to their conclusion. Will history repeat itself, or will a new account be written? Will the Monitor’s 11” Dahlgren smoothbores blast through Virginia’s armor plating or will their battle again end in a stalemate? Will the powerful Tennessee win out against Admiral David Farragut’s Union fleet or again fall to his superior numbers? Will the Atlanta defeat the two Union monitors in kind or again slip aground and strike her colors. This time, you get to determine the outcome. You are not bound by history’s stories.

Components

* One 11” x 17” map
* Rule Book
* Play Book
* Two 8-1/2” x 11” Player Aid Reference Cards
* Campaign Game Status Sheet
* Ten dice (2 x d10, 4 x d8, 2 x d6, 2 x d4)
* One deck of 94 Action Cards
* One deck of 16 Navy Yard Cards
* 76 4” x 3-1/2” Ship and Fort Data Cards
* 70 1” x 1/2” ship counters
* 114 9/16” status and informational counters
* 140 1/2” status and informational counters

Number of Players: 2 or more

Game Design: James M. Day
Game Development: Chris Janiec
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4. Board Game: Wild Blue Yonder [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:5221] [Average Rating:7.98 Unranked]
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Current Preorders: 338 (+55)

First announced: November 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $55 ($79)

Comments: This one's grabbed my interest. I like card based games, and I like games about air battles. Definitely on my radar.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-297-wild-blue-yonder.aspx

Game Information: In 1992, GMT released Rise of the Luftwaffe, the first Down in Flames WWII air combat card game. That game covered the early part of the War in Europe, from 1939 to early 1942. It was followed a few years later by the 8th Air Force expansion module, which added aircraft and campaigns for the latter part of the war.

Since then there have been two more games, two packs of additional aircraft, and a large number of C3i modules for the series. However, the original two games have been long out of print. GMT has considered a number of options to address that, from straight reprints to a base game/ campaign module arrangement. Finally, though, the company has decided to P500 an entire new game covering the WHOLE war in the ETO.

Wild Blue Yonder will be a true deluxe Down in Flames product. It will contain 16-20 full campaigns, nearly 300 aircraft cards, plus all of the necessary targets, resource sheets etc. needed for play. All of this will be packaged in a large box similar to the ones for the Combat Commander games.

Many of the campaigns will be on the same subjects as those in Rise of the Luftwaffe, 8th Air Force and various C3i modules. However, they will not be simple reprints of those campaigns. For example, due to card mix limitations the Fall of France campaign in Rise of the Luftwaffe included only one type of French aircraft. This will not be the case in the new game.

In addition, Wild Blue Yonder will contain two different types of campaigns, Land Campaigns and Strategic Bombing campaigns. The first type will be the familiar “standard” DiF campaign that players of the system are used to. The second type, though, will give both players a fixed “order of battle” along with reinforcements and replacements that they will have to use throughout the campaign. This will reflect the more attritional nature of these air campaigns.

Wild Blue Yonder will also include a number of Tour of Duty mini-campaigns. Each of these will be a series of dogfights from the careers of various well-known aces of the war. Those of you who want to more about this can check out C3i #21, which contains a Tour of Duty campaign featuring the Pacific ace George Welch.

Finally, the game will include at least one solitaire campaign for players who don’t have an opponent available.

Wild BlueYonder promises to be the best Down in Flames game yet. So strap on your parachute and get ready to take to the skies!
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5. Board Game: Pax Baltica [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:2733]
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Current Preorders: 358 (+33)

First announced: August 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: One of the highlights of BGG.Con 2009 for me, and a definite strong buy recommendation from me. Trust me, if you like block games, this one will wow you.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-289-pax-baltica.aspx

Game Information: Pax Baltica™ is a Grand Strategy Game covering the entire Great Northern War (1700-1721) and recreates the intriguing conflict that is often considered a side-show of the War of Spanish succession. Yet the conflict probably have had greater impact on Europe’s political, cultural and social developments than the latter.

Components:
* 1 Map
* 1 set of rules
* 20 control-markers (5 red, 5 blue, 5 green, 5 white)
* 60 1*1*1/2'' wooden blocks : 24 blue, 16 green, 12 white, 8 red.
* 1 stickers sheet for mounting on blocks.
* 4 dice

Regular Price: $55.00
P500 Price: $38.00

Game Design and Development: Stefan Ekström and Göran Björkman
GMT Development: Scott Muldoon
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Current Preorders: 380 (+4)

First announced: February 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $35 ($50)

Comments: Mark has been posting wonderful pics in prior P500 lists. Thanks Mark!

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-270-red-winter.aspx

Game Information: It is the winter of 1939 and the Soviet Union has just declared war on Finland. Bombers unleash a downpour of destruction on the Finnish capital of Helsinki. In the David and Goliath struggle that follows, the Russians swarm across the border and push back the Finns in victory after victory. The future appears grim for Finnish independence.

Red Winter will contain:
· One 22”x34” map
· One countersheet of 5/8” counters
· One Rulebook with illustrated examples
· One Play Book with over a dozen scenarios, extensive historical and game play notes, designer’s notes, and optional rules and variants
· One Turn Track card
· Two identical player aid cards
· Two six-sided dice
· One ten-sided die

DESIGNER: Mark Mokszycki
RESEARCH: Vesa Teräs, Mark Mokszycki
PLAYTESTER: Keith Mageau, Eric Edwards
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7. Board Game: Rebel Raiders on the High Seas [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:4213]
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Current Preorders: 386 (+11)

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $48 ($69)

Comments: Decent growth this month.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-238-rebel-raiders-on-the-high-seas.as...

Game Information: Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is a comparatively short and simple game of the naval conflict at sea and on the great rivers in the American Civil War. Easily playable in less than three hours, Rebel Raiders on the High Seas is a strategic contest between two players, one seeking to reunite the Union by force, the other to maintain its new independence in the face of the escalating industrial might and resolve of its northern brother. More of a representation than a detailed simulation of that conflict, the game is intensely engaging, highly interactive and moves along quickly, with players constantly responding and reacting to their opponent’s moves.

The Confederate Player sends Blockade Runners and Raiders abroad to gather supplies and inflict economic losses on the Union (as represented by Victory Points), while at the same time building batteries, gunboats and ironclads to defend ports and cities. The Union player seeks to create, extend and reinforce a naval blockade on the Confederacy and to conquer its cities, forts and ports by a combination of naval, amphibious assault and land combat.

What these efforts underlay is the game’s ultimate question: can the South, with limited means, hold off the industrial might of the North as represented by its ever growing resources long enough to secure independence? Both players face the challenge of conflicting demands on their resources to accomplish strategic objectives; there is the cat and mouse game within a game of blockaders vs blockade runners and Rebel Raiders vs Union Steam Frigates seeking to run them down and drive them from the seas.

Components
One 22 x 28 map
One Short Rule Book
Eight six-sided dice
One deck of 110 cards
6 Plastic Stands for Leaders
4 Blue Cannon Pawns
1 Grey Cannon Pawn
176 5/8” ship, leader and battery counters
100 ½” cargo, victory point, control and informational counters
20 small plastic tokens

Regular Price: $69.00
P500 Price: $48.00

Game Design: Mark McLaughlin
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8. Board Game: The Supreme Commander [Average Rating:6.67 Overall Rank:5233]
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Current Preorders: 437 (+1)

First announced: May 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $45 ($65)

Comments: Looks like a fun game and it already has some fans. Growth has seemingly stalled though.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-278-the-supreme-commander.aspx

Game Information: The Supreme Commander is a game designed for 2-5 players covering the entirety of World War II in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), from September 1939 to the end of the war. While there are plenty of other ETO games out there, The Supreme Commander effectively models all of the primary aspects of the war in a simple, straight-forward manner.

Murmansk convoy, Lend-Lease, diplomacy, the strategic U-Boat campaign, technological advancement, strategic bombing campaigns, naval invasions, the economy and military production, partisans – All of these elements and more are included in a surprisingly easy-to-learn game.

That is not to say that The Supreme Commander is some sort of compromise, surrendering historical accuracy for simplicity. The game delivers a detailed order of battle and meticulously researched economic and diplomatic system which allows players to play out the historical military campaigns of the war as well as the “what ifs” that may have happened. It is entirely up to the players – the system is open-ended and does not restrict players to the exact decisions of the past.

Play time will vary, but the campaign game generally will be a weekend long game that will rarely play the same way twice.

A campaign game and two shorter scenarios are included.

Note: We are doing much of the final system and balance testing of this game online using a (beautiful) Vassal module. We are definitely interested in additional testers who are new to the game at this stage. If you are interested in helping out, please contact developer Paul Marjoram at pmarjora@gmail.com.

Components:
* Rulebook
* (2) 24x36 maps with large hex pattern (one map is back-printed with a standard size 5/8" hex version so you can play the whole game on one map - for you guys with limited table space)
* Diplomatic Track (cardstock)
* Player aid card
* 560 Counters (Corps and Army-sized units)
* 6 x Force Pool cards for France, UK, US, USSR, Italy, Germany
* 2 ten-sided dice

Designer: Dan Holte
Developer: Paul Marjoram
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9. Board Game: Infidel [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:2763]
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Current Preorders: 442 (+96)

First announced: November 2009

Current Status: Not There Yet

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: I ordered Men of Iron in the fall sale at half off, so I figured I'd sign up for the sequel. It's had a strong month of growth and if it grows this much again will make the cut.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-292-infidel.aspx

Game Information: The Battles of Dorylaeum, Antioch, Ascalon, Harran, Montsigard, Arsuf

Fast playing . . . easily understandable rules . . . unusual battles . . . lots of action . . . lots of color . . . lots of cavalry … great leaders . . . lots of Fun.That’s what you get with GMT’s series on Warfare in the Middle Ages, Men of Iron. The system demonstrates why cavalry reigned supreme during the era of The Crusades with the second game in the series, Infidel.


Infidel focuses on the major battles of the early Crusades era between the Christians and the Muslims. This is a period that saw cavalry reign supreme, and pitted the European heavy cavalry – armored “knights” - system against the Eastern/Turkish light cavalry tactics.


Infidel is designed for quick learning and easy play. Game rules are short, there are no “turns” - play is Continual, with ample opportunities to steal play from your opponent - and combat resolution is a single dieroll.Playing time is about 1-2 hours, per battle.


Infidel is also GMT’s gift to the gamer who enjoys playing solitaire. The system is designed for both individual and face-to-face play without any loss in insight or Fun. Each game is a "paper time machine" that allows players to see what happened in these famous battles and why.

The battles include:

* Dorylaeum (1097): The Crusader line of march, including the people’s Crusade and Peter the hermit, as well as all the great 1st Crusade Leaders, are “ambushed” by Kilij Arslan and his crack Seljuk cavalry.

* Antioch (1098): The exhausted, starving and depleted Crusaders – they had few horses left – have just taken Antioch and are now faced with a large Turkish army, under Kerbogha, sent to retake the city.

* Ascalon (1099): The Crusaders, having seized Jerusalem, turn south to fend off the suddenly active large army of The Fatimids, with their crack Mamluk heavy cavalry.

* Harran (1104): Baldwin II of Edessa seeks to maintain control of his little kingdom in northern Syria, something Soqman, atabeg of Damascus, is not happy to allow. One of the first major Crusader defeats.

* Montgisard (1177): Saladin attempts to destroy a small army from the Kingdom of Jerusalem with an army more than five times its size. Though there are only 400 knights, the Crusaders are led by the remarkable Baldwin IV, The Leper King. The outcome - one of the greatest Crusader victories. See if you can carry off this stunning upset!

* Arsuf (1191):The classic battle between Richard I Lionheart and the Ayyubid Army of Saladin highlighting the major facets of each army in an unusual moving battle.


Each game of INFIDEL includes:

* Two 22” x 32”game-maps, backprinted
* 2 sheets of counters
* Rules Booklet
* Battle Book
* Charts and Play Aids
* 2 ten-sided dice
* Two pieces of wood to make your own True Cross

Designed by RICHARD H. BERG
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10. Board Game: Leaping Lemmings [Average Rating:6.47 Overall Rank:2123]
 
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Current Preorders: 465 (0)

First announced: 2008

Current Status: Not There Yet - but, GMT has announced it will be printed in spring 2010 thanks to a benefactor.

Preorder Price (List Price): $25 ($35)

Comments: If you're sitting on the fence about this one, you should hop off now and preorder. I'm telling you, you'll be kicking yourself if you don't.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-143-leaping-lemmings.aspx

Game Information: Leaping Lemmings is a humorous hobby or family game for 2-6 players. Each player controls a cloned clan of lemmings that have been specially trained to compete with the other lemming clans, all trying to scurry down a canyon and hurl themselves over a cliff. Distance and style points are important. One lemming diving with style and élan is worth as many as five of the more mundane divers. But beware the hungry eagles circling overhead or your lemmings might not even make the cliff edge!

Playtime: 30-90 minutes (15 minutes per player)

Objective: The player with the most victory points wins the game. To earn victory points, players dive their lemmings over the cliff edge and/or collect Lemming Chow Pellets.

The Board
The game board is a hex-based map representing the canyon down which up to six separate lemming clans will travel. The canyon ends with the cliff edge, which is the lemmings' ultimate goal. There are three basic types of hexes on the map:

# Clear hexes, which do not protect lemmings from becoming eagle chow.
# Brush hexes, which do protect lemmings from becoming eagle chow but restrict stacking and cost more movement points to enter.
# Lemming Chow Pellet hexes represent possible tasty rewards for the lemmings, and can tempt them into the more dangerous clear hexes.

Lemmings
Each player controls 10 lemmings. You are trying to move your lemmings towards the cliff, making use of covering terrain while trying to force your opponents' lemmings into becoming eagle chow.

Movement Cards
Each turn a movement card is revealed which will allow for 2-5 lemming movement points. Card luck is mitigated in that all players use the same card to move that turn. Only the top lemming in each stack is allowed to move, so covering your opponents' lemmings is one tactic used to slow them down. The down side of this tactic is that the eagles always snatch the top lemming of each stack when they strike. Lemmings generally move forward but are also allowed to move one hex sideways.

Example: The Eagle Player (green) reveals a '4' movement card. He chooses to move into the brush hex straight ahead, which is three zones away from the red eagle's current position, thinking that he should be fairly safe there. The purple clan moves next, and thinking that he should be the Eagle Player on the next turn, he opts to move full steam ahead, scorning the brush to move as far forward as he can. The blue clan moves last, and he wants to end up in the completely safe sanctuary hex, and since he is allowed to move one hex sideways during his move, he accomplishes the feat as shown. Note that he could not enter the red eagle's zone of control.

Lemming Chow
There are 32 Lemming Chow Pellet markers in the game, 16 of which are placed on the map during setup, and the rest may come into play via pellet resupply which happens throughout in the game. Each pellet marker is worth 0, 1, or 2 VPs.

Special Actions
Special Actions allow players to alter the normal rules of the game to their advantage or to their opponents' detriment. Players are dealt Special Action cards during setup. Each Special Action card may be used only once, so you need to save each one for its best use to help you towards victory. Three of the 18 different Special Actions are shown below to whet your appetite.

# BOO! - One Active or Covered lemming of the Special Action Player's choice is startled by a sudden noise behind it and the Special Action Player moves this lemming two movement points forward. If this moves the lemming over the cliff, award one point to the owning clan, as the lemming was too startled to receive any points for technique.

# ROCK SLIDE - The edge of the cliff collapses and all lemmings (Active, Covered, and Burrowed) currently within a cliff edge hex tumble down with the falling rocks and the owning clans are awarded only one Victory Point for each lemming.

# ROMANCE BURROW - The Special Action Player places a romance burrow on any two lemmings that are from different clans and that are currently alone together in the same brush hex. These lemmings may not move until the burrow is removed, which happens the next time any Eagle Player rolls a double-hover on the eagle dice or when a brush fire affects their hex. Burrowed lemmings count against the stacking limits.

Eagles
There are two eagles in the game, each circling the board within its own color-coded hunting circle. Players take turns controlling the eagles. Hunting Eagles can attack any clear hex within their zone of control.

Example: The Eagle Player (yellow) rolls a '2' on the blue eagle die. Since the blue eagle started in zone 'D', it could be moved to either zone 'B' or zone 'F'. The eagle is moved to zone 'F', as moving to zone 'B' would result in yellow being forced to eat his own lemming. In zone 'F' he chooses to send the red lemming to the Eagle Chow Box (alternately, the eagle could have taken the green lemming, but not the Covered brown lemming), and he must scatter the rest. He scatters the green and brown lemmings over the cliff, resulting in 1-point dives for the green and brown clans. His own lemming he decides to scatter sideways, covering the blue lemming already in zone 'A'.

Cliff Diving
When a lemming dives with the exact number of movement points needed to cross over the cliff edge, it scores 1 VP. But, it's well…a pretty ordinary dive, almost like falling off by accident. If a lemming has additional movement points available when it crosses the cliff edge, it will impress the judges and earn more VPs.

Example: With a '5' movement card revealed for the turn, the green lemming jumps off with two movement points to spare, earning 3 VPs for the green clan; one for the dive itself and two more for the extra movement points. The red lemming completes the best possible cliff dive, diving with four movement points to spare, earning 5 VPs for the red clan (this is a magnificent dive, with twists and flips, possibly even sticking the landing).

Components:
# 1 Rulebook (8 pages)
# 1 map board (13 ½" x 24")
# 2 eagle dice
# 104 die-cut cardboard counters
# 6 Clan Player-aid Cards
# 1 Quick-start Player-aid Card
# 1 deck of 55 Cards

DESIGN & RULES: Rick Young & John Poniske
DEVELOPER: John Foley
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11. Board Game: Blood & Sand [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:11236]
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Current Preorders: 527 (+8)

First announced: June 2007

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $35 ($50)

Comments: A good looking game. I'd love to try it out.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-139-blood-and-sand.aspx

Game Information: he Campaign for North Africa, 1941-42

What, another North Africa game? Yes … but here is something almost completely different from any WWII Campaign game you've seen: no CRT (or any other tables), buckets o' dice, and cards … all used in a totally new approach to gaming that can be learned in 5 minutes and played in a few hours.

Most of the rules and mechanics for Blood & Sand will be familiar to anyone who has ever played a wargame. However, Designer Richard Berg, no stranger to this campaign, has added to this accessible simplicity a combat system that rates units for how many dice they get to roll on their behalf, as well as what kind of dice (small arms or Heavy Weapons). No CRTs, no sirree!

The game also uses cards, one deck (of 27) for each player (whose cards are somewhat different from those of the other player) to enhance the game. (The cards don't "drive" the game and they can be left out, if you're so inclined.) The cards are part of a Resource system that gives the players a number of points which they can use to buy cards, rally units, build fortifications, or bring in Reinforcements. The RP choices are theirs, but there are far more choices than points.

The cards, themselves, give the players "Opportunities", from using their (or negating their opponent's) tank capabilities, to getting more supplies, to special Breakthrough and Reaction movement, to forcing the Allies to Withdraw units, to the effects of Rommel and other leaders.
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12. Board Game: Case Yellow, 1940: The German Blitzkrieg in the West [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:4567]
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Current Preorders: 535 (+21)

First announced: February 2009

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: This looks like it will be an interesting game to play. The chit pull with the either/or for the allies versus the more flexible German chits should make for some interesting tactical decisions.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-271-case-yellow.aspx

Game Information: September 1st, 1939: Germany invades Poland, setting off the Second World War. Except for minor attacks, France and Great Britain, the victors of World War One, do nothing. The Allies view the short Polish campaign of 1939 as a case of a newer, larger army winning out over an older, smaller army. Certainly the massed panzers are impressive, and need to be emulated, but the winter months see little positive activity on the Allied side. Missing the more vital lessons of the Polish campaign, the Allies are content to wait. Not only do their armies outnumber the Germans in terms of manpower, tanks and artillery, they have the advantage of operating on the defensive. Meanwhile the Germans feverishly apply the lessons they learned in Poland, and hone their operational techniques. The surprise German conquest of Norway jolts the Allies out of their lethargy. They do not have long to wait for the next blow.

May 10th, 1940: Germany unleashes its Blitzkrieg upon the western Allies. Six weeks later, the war ends in a smashing German victory. Four Allied national armies have vanished. The tiny Dutch and Belgian armies, pulverized in battle, have surrendered. Great Britain rescues most of the soldiers in the BEF, but their heavy weapons and vehicles remain on the beaches of Dunkirk. The island nation begins to re-arm, but for now is out of the fight. The proud French Army, with many regiments tracing an unbroken lineage back to the 1600s, suffers the most catastrophic defeat of modern times before France surrenders.

How did this happen? The Germans, realizing they could not win a repeat of World War One, set about reinventing the offense. Their formula included massed tank formations, an air force dedicated to close tactical support, and most importantly, a command and control system based on the use of radios. Allied tanks and soldiers were often equal or superior to their German counterparts – when given the opportunity to properly deploy and prepare. Unfortunately, such opportunities were few and far between. The Germans had securely positioned themselves inside an Allied decision making process that often took days to execute, rapidly concentrating, overwhelming defenders and then exploiting success. Certainly there were answers to every German innovation, but in six short weeks the Allies did not have the time to find them.

Case Yellow is a simple, but accurate, simulation recreating this monumental campaign. Each game turn is divided into eight action segments. Each player has four action chits. The initiative player selects the first action chit to play. The remaining seven chits are placed in an opaque cup and drawn randomly. In most cases the Germans have the initiative and go first by playing one of their four action chits. Each German chit is marked for movement or combat, and the German player chooses what his army will do (though the German player during the course of a turn must use two chits for movement and two chits for combat). At the end of movement, any panzer or motorized formation adjacent to Allied units has the option to attack. If combat is chosen, all German units adjacent to Allied units may attack if allowed by terrain.

Two Allied chits are marked two for movement and two for combat – not both. The creaky Allied command structure will bedevil the Allied player throughout the game. Need to move? Sorry – you just drew a combat chit. Set up to attack? You drew a move chit, and only the number of motorized formations equaling the roll of a six-sided die can attack.

Zones of control reflect that the infantry of both sides still fight by the rules of World War One. Infantry units must stop when entering an enemy zone of control. Mount a one hex infantry attack against a defender hex, and you attack only the units in the defender hex. Mount a two hex (or greater) infantry attack against a defender hex, and all adjacent enemy hexes must also be attacked (large-scale infantry attacks take time to set up, and the defender has the time to integrate adjacent units into the defense plan).

Motorized units play by different rules, though the Germans with their better-trained, veteran formations do it much better than the Allies. Simply stated, any motorized unit with a Troop Quality (TQ) higher than any adjacent unit may disregard those adjacent units’ zones of control for purposes of movement, combat and retreat. Only a solid line is proof against motorized unit exploitation and envelopment, and only so long as combat does not create gaps. Additionally, motorized units only may attack a defender hex from two hexes without engaging any other adjacent defender units – the speed of motorized concentration allows the attack to go in before a traditional defensive response can be established.

The Luftwaffe is present in overwhelming strength, allowing the German player to negate the toughest defensive positions if necessary. Each Luftwaffe asset marker provides a one column shift on the combat table. Each Allied air asset marker provides the same shift, but there are far fewer Allied markers – not that the Allies had far fewer planes (they had almost as many), but the Allied air-ground coordination was so cumbersome that planes usually did not arrive in time to influence the battles being fought.
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13. Board Game: Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ? [Average Rating:7.59 Overall Rank:293]
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Current Preorders: 561 (+131)

First announced: November 2009

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: Made the cut very quickly. There's now an AAR on the GMT site as well.

Game Link: https://gmtgames.com/p-294-labyrinth.aspx

Game Information: 2001: The “American Century” had closed with a single Cold-War superpower standing and a pause in conflict that some at the time dubbed “The End of History”. It wasn't.

In the Middle East and South Asia, an Islamic revival was underway. Resentments bred in part of US support for the regions' anti-Soviet tyrannies soon erupted into a new struggle against the West. Wealthy Saudi fanatic Usama bin Ladin issued a declaration of holy war against America in 1996 and then fired the first shots with spectacular terrorist attacks on US targets in East Africa in 1998 and the Arab Peninsula in 2000.

Bin Ladin's al-Qaeda organization plotted securely under the protection of the Taliban, a fundamentalist movement in Afghanistan born of the anti-Soviet “Bear Trap” of the 1980s. By 2001, al-Qaeda had set in motion even more devastating strikes--this time within the US Homeland--that Bin Ladin hoped would light off a global Muslim uprising. Uprising or no, the Western response to those September 11th attacks would reshape international affairs from London to Jakarta and from Moscow to Dar es Salaam.

Labyrinth takes 1 or 2 players inside the Islamist jihad and the global war on terror. With broad scope, ease of play, and a never-ending variety of event combinations similar to GMT's highly popular Twilight Struggle, Labyrinth portrays not only the US efforts to counter extremists' use of terrorist tactics but the wider ideological struggle--guerrilla warfare, regime change, democratization, and much more.

From the design and development team that brought you the award-winning card-driven game Wilderness War, Labyrinth combines an emphasis on game play with multifaceted simulation spanning recent history and near future. In the 2-player game, one player takes the role of jihadists seeking to exploit world events and Islamic donations to spread fundamentalist rule over the Muslim world. The other player as the United States must neutralize terrorist cells while encouraging Muslim democratic reform to cut off extremism at its roots. With the game's solitaire system, a single player as the US takes on ascending levels of challenge in defeating al-Qaeda and its allies.

The jihadists must operate in a hostile environment--staying below the authorities' radar while plotting terrorist attacks and building for the Muslim revolution. Will Iran's Shia mullahs help or hinder the Sunni jihadists? Will the gradual spread of Islamist rule bring final victory--or will it be a sudden strike at the United States with an Islamic weapon of mass destruction?

The United States has the full weight of its military force and diplomacy at the ready--but it can't be everywhere: will technological and material superiority be enough? US forces can invade and topple Islamist regimes, but how will the Muslim “street” react? And if quagmire results, how will the US find its way out?

Labyrinth features distinct operational options for each side that capture the asymmetrical nature of the conflict, while the event cards that drive its action pose a maze of political, religious, military, and economic issues. In the parallel wars of bombs and ideas, coordinated international effort is key--but terrorist opportunities to disrupt Western unity are many. The Towers have fallen, but the global struggle has only just begun. “Let's roll!”

GAME CARDS

Labyrinth contains 110 playing cards, including:

* Tora Bora
* Patriot Act
* Predator
* Iraq WMD
* Renditions
* Leak

Playing cards also include:

* Martyrdom Operation
* Taliban
* Kashmir
* Wahhabism
* Madrassas
* Zarqawi
* Abu Sayyaf
* IEDs

Playing cards also include:

* Tony Blair
* Danish Cartoons
* Ex-KGB
* Lebanon War
* Mossad & Shin Bet
* Hijab
* Loose Nuke

…and so much more!

GAME CONTENTS

* One Counter Sheet
* 22x34 inch Map
* 110 Playing cards
* Rules Booklet
* Two Player Aid sheets
* One Solitaire Play sheet
* 30 Wooden Cubes
* Four 6-sided dice

GAME SCALE

TIME: About 1 year per hand of cards

PLAYERS: 1-2

MAP: Point-to-Point system

GAME DESIGN: Volko Ruhnke
GAME DEVELOPMENT: Rob Winslow
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14. Board Game: Germantown [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:3964]
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Current Preorders: 562 (+16)

First announced: ??

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: American Revolutionary War is not a period of interest for me, but I know this series is well regarded.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-277-germantown-1777.aspx

Game Information: The Battle of Germantown took place on October 4, 1777, outside the city of Philadelphia and less than a month after the British victory at the Battle of the Brandywine Creek (September 11.)

GMT is pleased to offer the latest in Mark Miklos' popular and critically acclaimed American Revolutionary War series: Volume VII, Germantown, 1777.
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15. Board Game: Pensacola [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:6303]
 
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Current Preorders: 567 (+11)

First announced: -

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $45 ($65)

Comments: American Revolutionary War is not my period.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-239-pensacola-1781.aspx

Game Information: The Siege of Pensacola pits a numerically large but fragile Spanish army, supported by a small corps of French allies against a smaller, feistier British army enjoying strong fortifications and highly mobile Indian allies. As the Spanish player you will need to determine where you will build your siege gun redoubts and will then have to protect your soldiers from raiding British units to finish the works in time to mount an effective bombardment. As the British player, you have far fewer forces, but armed with special raiding rules, your Regulars, Tories and Indian allies must harass and erode Spanish morale, while delaying the construction of Spanish siege works for as long as possible in the hope of keeping your three forts intact to face the coming coup de main.
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16. Board Game: Nightfighter [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:3121]
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Current Preorders: 570 (0)

First announced: June 2008

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: I know this has made the cut, but it feels to me like this is a really niche genre of game.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-233-nightfighter.aspx

Game Information: NIGHTFIGHTER is a game of air warfare in the night skies of World War II.

The game requires two participants: a player and an umpire.
The game details the development of night fighting tactics over Britain, the Reich and the Pacific. Using a brand-new 'blind' play system, an umpire controls the attacking forces and moderates the defending player, who must find, fix and destroy the incoming bombers.

Nightfighter will recreate the tactics of night fighting, from the 'cat's eye' fighting of the London night blitz to the Mosquito intruder operations at the end of the war. Scenarios include Freya AN interception in the Dunaja dark fighting zones, Himmelbett zones, the introduction of AI radar, Wilde Sau and Zahme Sau tactics. The evolution of electronic systems and countermeasures is modelled, including the use of 'Airborne Cigar' and 'Window' jamming, and 'Serrate' radar homing.

There is a huge variety of aircraft in the game, from early Do217s and Ju88 fighters, to advanced fighters such as the He219. Rarities such as the Ta154, Me262B-1a and the Japanese J1N1 Gekko will be included. Schräge Music ('Jazz Music') oblique gun systems are modelled. The Allies get 'cat's eye' Hurricanes, Blenheims with AI Mk IV radar, Beaufighters with Serrate and various marks of Mosquito, including the NF.30 with the advanced AI Mk X radar. Pacific operations will see P-61A 'Black Widow' fighters engaging Japanese bomber threats over Saipan and F4U-2s engaging torpedo strikes against the fast carriers.
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17. Board Game: Sekigahara: The Unification of Japan [Average Rating:8.05 Overall Rank:143]
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Current Preorders: 588 (+6)

First announced: May 2005

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $41 ($59)

Comments: I'm starting to wonder if this one will ever get printed.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-127-sekigahara.aspx

Game Information: "Sekigahara is a simple 3-hour block game based on the campaign in 1600 that unified Japan. Hidden information on blocks & cards, but no dice. Cards are not events (this isn’t a typical “card-driven wargame”) but rather motivation (suited by clan). Units fight only when a matching card is produced."

Additional differences:

(1) A lot of ‘game’ in 3 hours: many decisions, historical feel. The mechanics are really simple. Feels more like the event in question than most 3-hour wargames. Doesn’t bog down.

(2) Elegant graphical design. Japanese kanji and symbology; minimalism in blocks, board and cards. Mark Mahaffey has done amazing work.

(3) ‘Randomization’ subordinated to uncertainty. Plays like poker sometimes. You know how strong you’ll be in a hypothetical battle, and your opponent knows how strong he/she will be, so you read each others’ actions to gauge whether you want to initiate it.

(4) Double game being played: (a) units in position, (b) units motivated enough to fight. Most games would be all about (a) and leave (b) to the dice, but here you know in advance the effectiveness of your troops, by looking at your cards. The game is true to history in this regard (the campaign turned on defections & abstentions). Unit combat performance was too essential to the outcome of this campaign to leave to the dice.

(5) The combat system, with hidden forces and sequential deployments, is novel. Christophe Sancy made a great graphical illustration of a climactic combat sequence. It’s posted on Boardgame Geek.
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18. Board Game: Crown of Roses [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:4696]
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Current Preorders: 591 (+16)

First announced: June 2008

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $55 ($79)

Comments: I've seen the newly posted sample graphics and I didn't like them. I'm sure I'll like the game though.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-234-crown-of-roses.aspx

Game Information: Crown of Roses is a 3-hour block game set during the turbulent years of the Wars of the Roses in 15th Century England. This 35-year long conflict saw the extinction of a large number of noble houses, and would eventually set the house of Tudor upon the throne.

In Crown of Roses, players take on the roles of the dynastic giants - the House of Lancaster and their Beaufort cousins, and the House of York. The four player game adds in the powerful House of Stafford, and the ever-scheming Richard Neville and his son, Richard of Warwick, the 'Kingmaker'.
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19. Board Game: Sun of York [Average Rating:6.53 Overall Rank:5756] [Average Rating:6.53 Unranked]
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Current Preorders: 603 (+2)

First announced: December 2005

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $39 ($55)

Comments: I love card wargames and am looking forward to this one. I picked up Columbia's Eagles: Waterloo over the holidays.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-128-sun-of-york.aspx

Game Information: "Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this …
"Sun of York" (Richard III, Ace I, Scene 1)

The Wars of the Roses (1453-1485) were the result of the struggle for the English crown between the Houses of Lancaster and York … both descended from the Plantagenet line … both with equal claim to the throne. By the end of the bloody struggle, both houses would be extinct and the crown grasped by the first of the Tudors.

Sun of York is a card game depicting the tactical battles fought between these two royal houses.

Represented by the cards are all the day's major leaders, including King Henry VI (too weak a leader to maintain control of the kingdom), Margaret of Anjou (Henry's strong-willed and manipulative queen), King Edward IV (organizational genius and longest holder of the Crown), King Richard III (charismatic leader of questionable morals) and Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (the "King Maker"). Each Leader is rated for combat ability and his affect on the morale of the troops he leads.

Troop cards include foot soldiers, missile units, pole arms and cavalry, all of different types and qualities, including mercenaries from the Continent. Each troop card is rated for its cohesion (the amount of damage it can sustain as well as deal out), its ability to move around the battlefield, and its combat quality.

A variety of terrain cards are included, and are used to configure the battlefield prior to play.

"Special" cards are included to provide period flavor and enable results so prevalent during a period where great heroics and insidious backstabbing by allies were common.

The heart of the game system (and that which separates it from similar games) is its "Orders" system. Generally, leaders on the battlefield give orders to the units under their command. Units without leaders can only move through the play of Orders cards (unused Leader, Terrain and Special cards). Calling up reinforcements also requires the play of Orders. Often, players will have to make the choice between discarding excellent troops in order to get any kind of troop into battle before their line collapses. This simulates wonderfully the chaotic melees these battles often became, and the difficulty the commanders had in retaining control of their forces once they engaged.

All the major (and several minor) engagements are included in Sun of York, as well as a random setup, for a total of twenty scenarios! Also included is a campaign system allowing players to fight out the Wars, one battle at a time, to their bloody conclusion.

Components include 220 cards, player aid sheets, one sheet of 140 status markers, and five six-sided dice.

Playtime runs an hour or two.

Designed by Mike Nagel
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20. Board Game: Fighting Formations: Grossdeutschland Motorized Infantry Division [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:1175]
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Current Preorders: 636 (+11)

First announced: June 2009

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $59 ($85)

Comments: I've seen some comments from people objecting to the name of this one - not the "Fighting Formations" part, but the "Grossdeutschland ..." part. I don't see the controversy myself.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-279-fighting-formations-grossdeutschla...

Game Information: ighting Formations is intended to be an ongoing series of wargames covering WWII tactical combined-arms combat at the platoon and squad levels. Each game in the series will feature a distinct combat unit, highlighting battles in which that unit participated as well as its particular order of battle and fighting characteristics. The first title in the series is "Grossdeutschland Infantry Division" (FF:GD). Future titles aren't yet set in stone but could be devoted to other famous divisions (Big Red One), Corps (Afrika Korps), regiments (442nd RCT), Commando troops, Ranger battalions, etc.

GAME FLOW: In each scenario, one player will take command of elements of the featured unit while the other assumes control of the opposing forces. These two players will alternate giving orders, activating their units on the map for various military functions. Players attempt to achieve victory by moving their combat units across the game map to attack their opponent’s units and to achieve as many scenario objectives as possible. The degree to which a player succeeds or fails is measured by a scenario’s specific victory conditions—be it the destruction of enemy units, the taking of vital mapboard objectives, or the exiting of friendly units off the opponent’s map edge.

ORDERS & INITIATIVE: Each game turn is divided into ten orders, with each player performing a variable number of these orders. In each turn, the sequence of play is fluid – with orders being given by the active player and reactions being taken by both players – depending upon the relative initiative level at any given moment. Fighting Formations is also not the typical Igo-Yougo fare with a strict sequence of play. Instead, the base game engine is an impulse-type back and forth mechanic whereby the various Orders carry with them a certain cost in Initiative. The game has a “pool” of 40 Initiative that is “spent” to give orders and then to activate units for those orders. At the end of every order the player with the most Initiative is able to give the next order. In response, the opponent can also spend Initiative to conduct both Opportunity Fire (at moving units) or Reactive Fire (at firing units).

ASSETS: The game has Asset cards -- including smoke, artillery, air support, man-portable support weapons and demolitions -- but is not card-driven. Each Asset will either take the place of a standard order or provide the player with some form of reactionary capability during an order.

SPECIAL RULES: FF:GD is a stand-alone game in the Fighting Formations game series. While utilizing the basic rules, FF:GD’s playbook includes specific terrain, fortification and unit special action rules in order to more accurately portray tactical warfare as experienced by the participants in Russia during this time period.

SCALE: The scale of the game is 75 meters per hex with turns representing about 5 minutes of real time.

UNITS: Units represent infantry squads, guns with their inherent crews, and individual vehicles. Platoons are also employed. Leaders are abstractly represented by Command markers, each one coordinating the actions of friendly units within a scenario-defined radius.

COMPONENTS: This first game has the following components:
* four back-printed 22˝ x 34˝ game mapsheets
* five sheets of die-cut counters
* 55 cards
* a 24-page Series Rulebook
* a 48-page Playbook
* one double-sided Track Display
* two double-sided 8.5” x 11” player aid cards
* ten dice (two each of 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-, and 20-sided)
* 10 wood cubes
* one wood pawn

Designer: Chad Jensen
Game Developers: Kai Jensen and John A Foley
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21. Board Game: The Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 [Average Rating:7.38 Overall Rank:3311]
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Current Preorders: 648 (+9)

First announced: March 2008

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: I find the Spanish Civil War a fascinating period of pre-WWII history.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-227-the-spanish-civil-war.aspx

Game Information: In July 1936, part of the Spanish Army rose in rebellion against the government of that young republic. What was expected to be no more than a short and relatively bloodless coup d’etat, degenerated instead into a fratricidal civil war that raged for almost three years. Within weeks of the outbreak of the war both sides began to receive support from abroad, in the form of military advisors, volunteers, weapons and troops from England, the USSR, France, Germany, Italy, the USA, Czechoslovakia, among many others.

After the first few months of fighting, fought out by colonial-war-style militia columns, highly mobile but having scarce firepower, both armies evolved into large armies that fought a war characterized by late World War I tactics and early WW2 weaponry. In fact, the war of 1936-1939 became both a cockpit for the struggle of ideas of the 1930s as well as a test bed for some of the tactics and weapons that would be used in 1939-1945. Many historians consider the Spanish Civil War as the first clash of the coming world war.

The Spanish Civil War is a quick playing, moderately complex operational simulation of this war. Brigade-Divisional level, monthly turns for the first phase of the war and bimonthly turns from November 1936 until the end of the war. 480 1/2" counters and 1 big hex map. One grand campaign and multiple scenarios, including some What-if? scenarios speculating with WW2 beginning in September 1938 or a hypothetical Axis invasion of Spain and Portugal in 1941-42, complete with German Panzers, the Portuguese army, or British and Free French expeditionary forces.
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22. Board Game: Nothing Gained But Glory [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:2845]
 
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Current Preorders: 713 (+7)

First announced: -

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $45 ($65)

Comments: I got in late to the Musket & Pike genre, but I really enjoy this series. I think these scenarios will be really interesting. I'm hoping to play some more of this series in 2010.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-242-nothing-gained-but-glory.aspx

Game Information: This volume features several pivotal battles in Baltic region of the late 17th century - a period where rulers struggled to centralize power in their realms, and to introduce permanent standing armies instead of expensive mercenary forces. It shows the highly trained and well led army of Sweden struggling to defend its massive gains from the Thirty Years War and the Northern Wars of 1655-1661 against the forces of Denmark and Brandenburg, reinforced by contingents from Austria, the United Provinces, Münster, Hesse-Kassel and Poland.

The personalities in the game include the great Swedish warrior king Carl XI, Brandenburg´s Frederick William (the Great Elector), and King Christian V of Denmark-Norway. Never before have so many monarchs been in one M&P box!

Nearly all the scenarios in this module are smaller than the typical Musket & Pike scenario, and thus take less time and space to play. For the same reasons it is a great introductory game to the series.
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23. Board Game: Serpents of the Seas [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:3664] [Average Rating:7.68 Unranked]
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Current Preorders: 766 (+18)

First announced: June 2008

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $48 ($69)

Comments: This one looks interesting. I'm hoping to play Flying Colors soon to see if this one's a buy for me.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-232-serpents-of-the-seas.aspx

Game Information: In 1775, Colonel Christopher Gadsden presented his design of a naval jack to the first commander-in-chief of the newly created Continental Navy. His design of a coiled serpent on a yellow background was derived from a similar design found on drums carried by the first Marines. Printed with the design was a motto that embodied the sentiment of the American colonies:

“Don’t Tread On Me!”

Serpents of the Seas is the second stand-alone volume in the Flying Colors series of naval combat games, and represents frigate actions and the rise of the American Navy. Unlike the larger battles between ships of the line depicted in Flying Colors, Serpents of the Seas includes sixteen battles from the American Revolutionary era and the War of 1812 that involve smaller ships -- from tiny gunboats with only one or two cannon through “5th Rate” frigates of less than 50 guns. Also depicted are three dozen “Ship Duels” between one or two vessels on a side, like the mighty Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) against her foes Java and Guerriere. To make these duels more challenging, an all new initiative system has been created using activation cards that might grant players a jump on their opponents, but limit their flexibility in the process. The cards can also be used as events that provide additional shipboard flavor. These new systems are fully compatible with the original Flying Colors game, with mechanics that can be selected a la carte.

* 2x 22x34” map sheets (E and F), back-printed with the special Duel map
* 2x Sheets of 280 Double-Sided Counters
* 2x Player Aid Cards
* 1x Deck of 55 Initiative Cards
* 1x Rules Manual

Game Design: Mike Nagel
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24. Board Game: Won by the Sword [Average Rating:6.64 Overall Rank:5994]
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Current Preorders: 817 (+13)

First announced: -

Current Status: Made the cut.

Preorder Price (List Price): $38 ($55)

Comments: Another great looking game from Ben Hull. Looking forward to getting this one on the table.

Game Link: http://gmtgames.com/p-41-great-campaigns-of-the-thirty-years...

Game Information: Great Campaigns of the Thirty Years War (GCo30YW) is a two-player game of operational warfare in the 17th Century. Armies maneuver on a point to point map of Southern Germany based on the road network available at the time. Each game is centered around a major battle or full campaign season. A Turn is a month divided into a variable number of impulses. Each army has a hand of Campaign Cards that control the amount of activity it may perform, the supplies it must expend, and a special action. Each impulse features one card play per army. Forces are concealed off map so players are faced with limited knowledge of the enemy. The major activities are maneuver, foraging, besieging fortifications, and an occasional battle. GCo30YW is a low-complexity game with emphasis on the players maneuvering their forces, but many decisions await. The low rules complexity allows each player, rather than being encumbered with rules, to focus on choices regarding how to manage his campaign.
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25. Board Game: Commands & Colors: Napoleonics [Average Rating:7.98 Overall Rank:296]
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Current Preorders: 826 (+159)

First announced: November 2009

Current Status: Made the cut!

Preorder Price (List Price): $49 ($70)

Comments: Another month of robust growth. Although it may be hard to believe, I've actually not played anything C&C, but this one will be hitting my table once it's released.

Game Information: The Napoleonic historical period has always been one of our favorites and was actually the second historical game that we developed using the Commands & Colors system. The Wars of Napoleon rules at first glance may seem more complex than other Commands & Colors games, but if you are familiar with the game system, you are only a few short steps away from taking Command. Even if you have never played before, learning the fundamentals of the game system is straightforward and will be an enjoyable endeavor.

For the game group in Orlando, Wars of Napoleon is one of our favorites. There is a wealth of subtle and bold features that set it apart from other historical periods and it truly embraces the tactical doctrines of France and the various nations that fought against Napoleon.

* The Napoleonic period showcases a unique balance between the roles of Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery on the battlefield.
* In combat, a unit's battle strength is directly tied to the number of blocks present in the unit. Therefore, as a unit suffers block loses its combat effectiveness is reduced.
* An Infantry unit, by forming square, can reduce the effectiveness of the most gallant Cavalry charge.
* Artillery in combined arms combat along with an Infantry or Cavalry melee attack can produce the most devastating results.
* As with other Commands & Colors games, the battle dice resolve combat quickly and the Command cards provide a fog of war and will present players with new challenges and opportunities for victory.
* When in Command, the battlefield tactics you will need to execute conform remarkably well to the historical advantages and limitations inherent to each Napoleonic Army. For example, as the French Commander you will want to maneuver your infantry units into a position to take advantage of their melee attack dice bonus. While a British Commander will want his line infantry to take up a defensive position and stand and volley fire with a dice bonus. The other major powers also have similar seemingly simple advantages that can impact a battle and will influence your Command style for that army.

The core Wars of Napoleon game will feature French, British and Portuguese troops, while the expansions will showcase one Coalition army that opposed Napoleon.

Core Game Contents

* 1 Mounted Battlefield Gameboard
* 4 Sheets containing 56 double-sided Terrain Tiles and 2 Infantry in Square tracks
* 70 Command cards
* 8 Battle dice
* French, British and Portuguese Blocks and Label sheets
* 3 National Unit Reference Cards
* 1 Rule Book
* 1 Scenario Booklet containing 15 battle scenarios

As I said before, the Napoleonic historical period is one of my favorites and although it has taken some time to bring it to market, I truly believe, after working with the guys at GMT on Commands & Colors: Ancients, this will be a perfect fit and another outstanding game product.

Richard Borg
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